As we begin to look forward to the return to some degree of “normalcy” to our personal and our spiritual lives and activity, it may be a good time for us all to be reminded of the tenet of Christianity and our responsibility as members of Christ’s Church. Allow a few scriptures to speak directly to our hearts and remind us of whose we are and what we are here for as the Body of Christ in Ripon, California.
Jesus, The Savior said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20) “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16) The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel (of Christ), for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom.1:16). The book of Acts and other writings by the Apostles, shows clearly that this power worked over and over again converting many to The Faith, including “a great many of the priests” (Acts 6:7), as more and more were obedient to the gospel. According to Rom.1:8, 1 Thess.1:8, and Jude 3, at one point in time the gospel had been proclaimed “to all” and “in every place.” God’s plan and His power works!
What does the LORD expect as we live our lives, daily? “Therefore, I beseech (urge) you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (rational) service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom.12:1-2) “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the LORD.” (ESV) (Rom.12:10-11) “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;…with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people… (Acts 2:42-47).
The Lord’s Church in Ripon cannot allow the discouragement and negativity of the past several months, if not years, to distract us or cause us to become complacent. We have a responsibility given to us by God to try to reach every lost soul within our spheres of influence, especially in the city of Ripon and the surrounding areas. Individually, and collectively, we need to pray and reassess what our participation will be as the congregation’s efforts toward fulfilling the Great Commission renews. God will empower us to do great things if we will continue to trust Him and follow His will. We have endured very difficult times. But, through it all we can see that God has been at work and leading us through to the point of “...for such a time as this!” (Esther 4:14). Without any doubt, He expects us to make a sincere effort to achieve His goal. (2 Pet.3:9) We — the church of Christ in Ripon — see that The LORD is blessing us richly and we are confident that He will continue to bless us in our efforts to serve Him. REMEMBER: We have a BIG GOD and with us working together and sharing a common BIG FAITH, what seems like a daunting, almost impossible, task becomes less so, when we keep our trust in GOD. TOGETHER we can do this, because GOD will bless us as we do His will – TOGETHER!
Practice what you preach! Christ as the master teacher (John 3:2) taught his disciples not only by word but by example (John 13:15). He demonstrated by His living how they should live before their heavenly Father. After washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5), Christ explained to them the spiritual “benefits” of serving others (John 13:14-17). In fact, true happiness cannot be attained in any other way. What will bring true happiness in time will also bring it into eternity (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Tim. 6:17-19). The principle of helping those who are spiritually weak (Romans 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14), of weeping with those that weep (Romans 12:15), of encouraging the lowly (Luke 6:20; Gal. 2:10) and encouraging the sinful to sin no more (John 8:11), is the essential and fundamental spirit of our Lord. To cultivate the spirit and practice of doing good to others (Matthew 5:44; Acts 10:38) is the work that fits mortals for that eternal heavenly home (Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Peter 1:4).
As the master teacher, Jesus not only “told” but provided the perfect example (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-22; 1 John 2:6) of how we as God’s children should live before our heavenly Father and fellow man. This same principle of “practice what you preach” was demonstrated in Paul’s and Peter’s life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Gal. 2:20; 1 Peter 4:1-2). Faithful Christians are to provide the proper spiritual “example” before men by the lives they lead (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12).
In our everyday living, what kind of spiritual “sermon” are we preaching before others? (Borrowed)
This is an article written by a preacher in India, but it could be similar to the persecution of Christians around the world. They are asking for our prayers. The preacher, Kyle Clayton, knowing the power of prayer, asked you and me to pray for the Church in India. Here is the article:
I was speaking to a man a few days ago, a man I met recently. He is a member of a denominational group, but shared some interesting facts with me concerning church work that a friend of his had been doing in Pakistan. He showed me some picture of children who were orphans. Why? Because their parents had been executed. What was their crime? They had converted from Islam to a faith in Christ.
He talked about a young Pakistani man who cared for these orphaned children. He was providing them with food and shelter. The man I was speaking with showed me some pictures on his smart phone. He swiped a picture on his phone to another picture. It showed the same young man hanging from a tree. He had been executed for helping those orphaned children.
The threat of this violence is much worse in Pakistan, but those who are Christians are in danger in India as in all Muslim countries. India has a Nationalistic government that has a very anti Christian stance. Pro Hindu and Muslim activists have damaged church buildings. They have beaten Church members and killed at least 3 preachers of the Church.
These same hostile conditions exist in many Muslim nations. Our congregation has supported the spread of Christianity in Ethiopia and India for many years. Let us all resolve to continue to give to these great works and especially continue to pray the power of the word will change the world.
So, we all have hopes and dreams of how our life here will go. Many things that you hope for, change as you get older and wiser. There is nothing wrong with chasing a dream for what you want in your future. Just be careful not to get lost in it and lose sight of the important things about our future. Sometimes the road to a success you have seen for yourself, changes and takes a turn you didn’t expect. Be prepared for the unexpected as best you can and sometimes be prepared to change your sights on a different dream to hope for. Many people in this world put their hopes in all the wrong things. Some people put all their focus on wealth and will do anything to acquire it, at any cost. They will sacrifice all they have, including the ones that love them to get it. Some gamble to get it or have all their hopes in a lottery ticket. Some maybe just risk it all on a chance to get all they think they hoped for in this world, costing them so much more than they think.
1 Tim 6:9 (But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.) Men often put too much hope for their future in wealth. I know we need money for food and a home, but don’t put too much hope in being rich. If you do become rich in your lifetime, don’t put all your hope in your money.
Where should our hope be focused? Hope in the One that was there in the beginning and will be there forever. The One that was willing to lay down His own life for us all.
Romans 8:24-25 (For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it). Ephesians 2:12-13 (remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.) So, let our hope be focused on the really important truth, that is life eternal. Don’t let the things of this world separate you from God. Never lose sight of that hope.
Titus1:2 (in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,). Keep your hopes on things that are certain and eternal. Pour out your hopes and dreams to God. Live for Him and find your happiness in the hope of the promises.
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366